Are Your ‘Friends’ Really Friends?

By Shane Michael Singh, Editorial Intern, REALTOR® Magazine

IT'S NOT JUST WHO YOU KNOW Jacket ImageIf you’re abiding by the new rules of Facebook, Twitter, and social media networking, you may have a few more “friends” and followers than you do in real life—and that’s exactly the problem, says author Tommy Spaulding in his book, It’s Not Just Who You Know (Broadway Books, 2010; $23 hardcover).  Spaulding advocates a move from the personal gains of networking to the interpersonal rewards of net-giving, or building relationships that help others, and not just yourself. Calling them “Fifth Floor relationships,” Spaulding writes that deeper connections between individuals and coworkers can build better organizations and businesses.” You never know when the next relationship will be the most important of your life,” writes Spaulding, who uses personal anecdotes throughout the book, such as how a bartender at a small restaurant led to his winning a scholarship.  Here’s a peek at some of the points Spaulding emphasizes to move from networking to net-giving.


  1. Skip the weather and water cooler talk. An integral step in building deeper relationships is moving away from generic talking points and towards something more specific. Do your homework about those you’d like to know better; ask sincere questions and allot them genuine attention.
  2. Inspire employee morale. Spaulding says that a company culture rooted in relationships increases productivity and innovation, not to mention low turnover. In the end, the company hierarchy should get bypassed by soaking in what others have to offer.
  3. Bridge the producer/consumer divide. Why? “Happy, motivated, committed, and loyal internal stakeholders becomes ambassadors who produce happy, motivated, committed, and loyal external stakeholders,” Spaulding writes.

About the Author

Tommy Spaulding is the president of The Spaulding Companies LLC, a national leadership development, consulting, and speaking organization. Before starting his firm he was the head of the international nonprofit Up With People. Spaulding is also the found of Leader’s Challenge, which has become the largest high school civic and leadership program in Colorado, and Dialogue for Tomorrow, an annual international global leadership conference. Spaulding grew up with dyslexia and soon realized the importance of relationships. Spaulding eventually earned two master’s degrees and an honorary PhD in humanities from the Art Institute of Colorado.

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This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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